Yeah, okay. The title is kind of click-bait-y. Nothing about the old Santa Barbara Improv has ended; we've just expanded. Now, instead of just me trying to keep things moving along, Amy, George, and I hope to expand what's available to improvisers in Santa Barbara, as well as increase the number of people involved with improv. That includes expanding the audiences for our shows as well as performers!
This is a very personal entry for me (Alan). George and Amy have no idea that I'm writing this. For a long time I've felt a bit stuck running Santa Barbara Improv. It's not my main profession, and so can't dedicate the amount of time it would take to add classes. And we've needed that option for so many folks who've grown beyond what's available from a weekly workshop with 20+ players. That means you've all had to travel to Ventura at least, and really LA. to get advanced training. And after that, there isn't a convenient place to keep practicing those long form, open form, sketch, and other skills you've learned.
Others have done long form or Harold classes in town and done them well, but it wasn't until Amy and George finished their first classes, and then came to me to consult about doing more, that I felt like there was the right combination of experience, interest, skill, and long term commitment that I really wanted to see before expanding. Once the topic was broached, it was obvious that we had complimentary ideas about what we could do in Santa Barbara, building on the foundation of the improvisers in town. The ideas just kept bubbling out. I wanted them to be Santa Barbara Improv.
This newly revamped website is one way of expressing those ideas and building the improv community in Santa Barbara. Social media is a great way to promote events and ideas, but a home like this is where we can store information for the long term. A place we can send people interested in improv, students who want more information about classes and theory, players who are looking for event info, and performers who want to announce their events.
As most sites, we are publishing before it is finished (it will never be finished.) We've discussed a lot of potential classes, and we want to encourage instructors who have their own ideas for classes. There are a variety of one time workshops we can provide. I want to expand the number of corporate events we do. There is a lot more information on the web we can bring out, through links and blog posts.
I don't see us as arbiters of improv in Santa Barbara, but facilitators. If you've got an idea for a show, we've got resources that can help. We'd like to encourage ongoing meet-ups, ensemble troupes, classes and shows of all types. We don't want to do everything, but make everything possible.
Santa Barbara isn't the same market size as LA, but I know we are not meeting the potential of the area. I regularly get new players who've never heard of the workshop, despite having been ongoing since 1989. And those who have known about us can see that there hasn't been much more available than a weekly workshop and monthly shows. That is now changing.
Okay, if you've read this far, thank you and good god, you are improv starved. Let us know what you'd like to see. Keep the dialog (or group-speak) going. Let's see what we can do.